A Bloomberg report says that Apple will be able to ship its 5G-capable iPhones on schedule this year. But future models face delays.
According to the report, Apple will be able to launch its 2020 iPhones in the fall as it usually does, in part because its China-based manufacturing infrastructure is already recovering from the impact of the Coronavirus. But with so much of the iPhone and Apple’s other devices sourced from suppliers all around the globe, further disruptions—which are almost certain—could delay future devices.
This might explain why Apple was able to launch new iPad Pro and MacBook Air computers recently: The parts for each were sourced months ago and before the Coronavirus exploded worldwide.
Related to this, Hon Hai/Foxconn, a major iPhone manufacturer with facilities in China, said this week that it is finally back to its normal seasonal capacity. But the firm experienced an estimated 24 percent drop in profits in the final quarter of 2019—yes, before the Coronavirus struck—thanks to lower sales of Apple and other hardware devices. (Hon Hai/Foxconn derives about half of its revenues from manufacturing the iPhone and other Apple products.)
The issue in late 2019 was rising U.S. tariffs from the increasingly pointless U.S./China trade war and a general decline in the smartphone industry, of course. But the first quarter of 2020 had to be dramatically worse, given the pandemic and the resulting halt in manufacturing in China; the firm hasn’t discussed its results from this quarter yet. To counter future disruptions, Hon Hai/Foxconn, which is based in Taiwan, is diversifying beyond China and is building factories in India and Vietnam.
Mass production of Apple’s 2020 iPhones is expected to start in the summer, Bloomberg says.